The publication announced this year’s list during an hour-long special on ABC, which included performances by Time 100 honorees Jennifer Hudson, Halsey, and The Weekend, who treated viewers to a performance of “Blinding Lights” off his chart-topping 2020 album, After Hours.
Time also revealed The Weeknd’s Time 100 magazine cover, shot by photographer Nabil, as well as a tribute penned by music legend Elton John.
“This year, I met Abel Tesfaye, who performs as the Weeknd, at an Oscars party,” John began. “… He has so many different types of music tucked up his sleeve that he incorporates into his vision. He’s not interested in commerciality for commerciality’s sake, but he’s one of the biggest-streaming artists on Spotify. Like Prince, he marches to his own beat. That’s an exemplary way for an artist to be.”
Megan joins The Weeknd as one of this year’s eight Time 100 cover stars. Her tribute was written by Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson, who praised the rapper’s artistry and strength.
“There was something about this woman. Once you discover her, you become a fan,” Henson wrote. “I don’t like to put the stigma of the word strong on Black women because I think it dehumanizes us, but she has strength—strength through vulnerability. She’s lost much of her family—her mother, her father, her grandmother—yet she is the epitome of tenacity, of pulling herself up by her bootstraps. She was shot this summer, and still people tried to tear her down. But she’s out here still loving and being sweet … The industry might try to pigeonhole her in this rap game, but she’s got a plan that’s much bigger. And we got her. I just want her to keep winning.”
Other who were featured in this year’s list include entertainers like Selena Gomez, J Balvin, Jojo Siwa, Michael B. Jordan, Gabrielle Union, and Michaela Cole, as well as political figures such as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and President Donald Trump.
Writers for the issue included Camila Cabello, Melinda Gates, Al Gore, Laverne Cox, Missy Elliott, Rev. Al Sharpton, Cory Booker, and Janet Mock.
“This year’s list looks far different than any of us could have predicted just six months ago,” wrote Edward Felsenthal, Time CEO and editor in chief. “The TIME 100 has always been a mirror of the world and those who shape it. While you will certainly find people who wield traditional power on this year’s list—heads of state, CEOs, major entertainers—it also includes many extraordinary, lesser-known individuals who seized the moment to save lives, build a movement, lift the spirit, repair the world. … Their work challenges each of us to wield our own influence toward a world that is healthier, more resilient, more sustainable and just.”